Slain man's family demands security guard's arrest

2nd man remains hospitalized

MIAMI - The family of a man shot and killed by a security guard at a Miami strip club last week wants to know why the shooter has not been arrested.

Kijuan Byrd, 29, and Michael Smathers were in a pickup truck outside Club Lexx last Friday night when a security guard working at the club shot them, Miami-Dade police said. The families said both men were unarmed, but they were shot multiple times.

Byrd was pronounced dead at the scene. Smathers, 30, remains at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His sister said he is fighting for his life, and if he lives, he may be paralyzed.

Byrd was a football star at Norland High School, worked as an electrician and has a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son.

Byrd's family members gave a news conference Friday at the funeral home where his body still lays. They want to know why the security guard hasn't been arrested, comparing his case to that of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, 28, was arrested on a second-degree murder charge after initially avoiding arrest because he claimed self-defense in Martin's shooting.

"He was my baby. He was my youngest son," said Byrd's father, Donald Byrd. "He was shot twice in the back." 

"He's gone. My baby is dead, and it's senseless. I don't understand why, and I don't know what I'm going to tell my grandbabies," said his mother, Arlene Byrd.

"Again we are here with another stand your ground claim and another unarmed black man shot and killed and nobody arrested," said attorney Benjamin Crump.

Crump is the same attorney who has represented Martin's parents.

"I cannot understand how someone claims they are standing their ground when you shoot someone twice in the back," said Byrd's sister, Shamara Byrd.

Byrd's family is preparing funeral arrangements and asking for answers.

A representative of the Miami-Dade Police Department said the department does not have a comment because the case is still open and police are still investigating.

On Friday afternoon, Douglas Jeffrey, an attorney representing the armed security company involved in the shooting, issued the following statement:

"My client is fully cooperating with the official investigation into what transpired during the evening of the shooting incident. The media and the public should not rush to judgment until all of the facts and circumstances are fully disclosed by law enforcement officials. Security and public safety officers throughout the country are constantly facing similar circumstances," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are extended to everyone involved in this incident, including their respective families."

Club Lexx is extremely busy on Friday nights, so there are witnesses. There is extensive lighting, and there are security cameras mounted all over the building. Police have not said whether the shooting was caught on camera.

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